BigBlueButton is an active open source project that focuses on usability and clean design. BigBlueButton is a web conferencing system that allows remote presentation with slides, audio, video, chat and desktop-sharing. The developers vision for this is to make starting a web conference as easy as clicking a single metaphorical big blue button.
BigBlueButton is aimed for teaching, learning and conferencing. It allows integration within educational or commercial applications, and is distributed at a significantly lower cost than other web conferencing systems.
The big panel in the middle is the presentation area. This holds slides which can be uploaded in formats including Powerpoint, PDF, MSoffice or images (not Keynote), which are then converted to a format optimised for display. You can upload multiple documents and switch between them during the presentation. The image quality is good (compared to elluminate), although the conversion process can mess up some formatting (like slideshare), so make sure you check your fancy slides! There are some nice presentation features, such as a filmstrip view for slide navigation (see below), a slick zoom and pointer. I’m less convinced by the whiteboard tools, but that’s more about the utility of online whiteboards than BBB implementation of one.
It shows lists participants, their role (viewer, presenenter or moderator) and if they are using a webcam. It also has a ‘raise hand’ feature to get the attention of a presenter or moderator.
The Chat panel alows all participants to conduct public or private chats. The private chat is nicely implemented in a seperate tab to avoid any accidental back-channel incidents! The size of the font can also be altered on a per user basis.
This feature lists participants that are using audio – as in listening and using their microphone. If you’re first in here, you get some rather ambient Muzak while you wait for others to join. Once they do, multiple users are able to have live conversations, although presenters can selectively mute participants or even eject them from the voice conference.
Multiple participants and a presenter can be sharing their video simultaneously.
Presenters can share their desktop with other participants (via a Java Applet). This allows you to demonstrate activities in any application you have on your local machine, including of course a browser.
Innotech Innovative Technology uses BigBlueButton and is not endorsed or certified by BigBlueButton Inc. BigBlueButton and the BigBlueButton Logo are trademarks of BigBlueButton Inc.” You may see more details about BigBlueButton Licence here.